Richard C. Lim
Grandson of Lim Lip Hong
Interviewee: Richard C. Lim (Grandson of Lim Lip Hong)
Interviewer: Connie Young Yu and Barre Fong
Date: March 7, 2013
Location: San Francisco, California
Length of the Interview: 8 minutes, 43 seconds
00:06 Richard C. Lim: Okay, my name is Richard Lim. My Chinese name is Lum Lun Choi. And I’m the third generation of Lim Lip Hong. Here is my, and my father is, is shown in this picture. He’s standing in between his mother and father. And this picture was taken from the Golden Gate Archives.
00:39 Lim: I work, well, when I came out from school at – and I had to do a year of internship, well, what they call externship or internship, a year’s worth of experience right before you get your license, your full, full pharmacy license. And I worked for Clay Grant on, in Chinatown. And that’s where I learned how, learned all my Chinese – giving directions to, giving directions how to take the medication. So learned how to use. In fact, I had to, sometimes, I had to go back and ask, ask my mother how to, how to use the word. So that’s where I learned. And worked for a year there.
01:34 Lim: And then I went, and I went to work for the Owl Drug Company. And they had their Rexall Drug, Rexall sales and what once-a-year sales. That is, I lasted there for 13 years before it was sold to another, before it was sold to a Mr. Scully who was, who was a district manager. So he bought over four, five stores. And I worked for him for – until, until now so it’s getting sold again. But, uh, but –
02:19 Yu: I did want to ask if – you did, when you retired, did you go back to China? Or did you go to China to see your village?
02:29 Lim: When I retired, I, I was on and off working. Using my license, I was on and off working for different firms. Just all part-time type of thing. The only travel I did, the only traveling was, mostly USA. Going on, as long as you can, conventions to New York City, where else, Washington DC, Seattle, New Orleans – and what was it in Georgia – Atlanta, Georgia. And so that was a lot of, a lot of experience in that. And as far as overseas is concerned, as far as overseas, so forth, so called overseas, would be Vancouver and Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico. And I never went to China and I never went to Hong Kong. Everybody says you should have gone but that was just, it wasn’t in my cards. Yeah. So.
03:39 Yu: Did you feel a sense of your roots? Your, your grandfather having worked on the Transcontinental Railroad? In your travels, did you ever think about that?
03:51 Lim: Well, my sense of roots is still in China. I mean, I am, there’s no getting away from it. I’m China. I’m Chinese. There’s no getting away from it. I mean, I, I said, we are just that – we, we may be third generation, we maybe third generation Chinese, but we’re still bananas. Yellow in inside and white on inside, outside. Yellow in the outside and white in the inside. So in that, you can’t get away from that. I mean, no matter what we do.
04:31 Yu: But you were very close to your grandmother. And did she ever talk about her husband? Your grandfather and the work that he did?
04:42 Lim: No. You know, that’s the thing that I, I couldn’t understand why. There was never hardly any talk about, about, about him. With all the years I’ve lived, lived with her – but they never talked about him. At least, not, not from my, my experience, you know.
05:03 Yu: But did you have a sense of pride of the fact that your roots are so deep in America and that – you know, he was a laborer, working on the Railroad and came to California from-
05:13 Lim: Oh, I mean, I, yeah, when, if I have nothing else, I have built a, I have a sense of pride for, for my, my ancestors. And for my, I think we built that in for my, for my children too. So there’s no getting away from that, yeah.
05:38 Yu: Wonderful childhood, surrounded by family, because, you know, grandmother held things together.
05:45 Lim: Yeah. She was the one that – because, because she was there, all the rest of the families would come to visit her. That’s the reason why we saw all these other people. And so, that’s the way I got to, got to know all my cousins, all the my second cousins, so that’s why.
06:06 Yu: I think you expressed that very well.
06:09 Fong: Aside from those three buildings on Minnesota, were there other Chinese families in the neighborhood or no?
06:14 Lim: No, that was, that was a thing. Where we were at – I went to Irving M. Scott. It was a little small elementary school now, on Tennessee and – Tennessee and 23rd. And, and the, I see, you brought that up, there was hardly any – any Chinese there were from Hunters Point. They were brought from Hunters Point, bused in as you say, bused in from Hunters Point to Irving M. Scott because they lived – where the – Hunters Point was Chinese fishing camps, shrimp camps were there. So they were brought from, from Hunters Point to, uh, to Irving M. Scott. And you know what kind of, kind of transportation they used? Taxi cabs. Yellow taxi cabs. To bring them up. Because there weren’t that many kids from Hunters Point to go to Irving M. Scott. I still remember the yellow taxi cabs coming by.
07:19 Fong: Do you remember going to Chinatown as a child?
07:25 Lim: Yeah. We used to go up there for, to visit Uncle Sing. He had a, he had a little business on Sacramento Street. He was a, he was a ship provider for the [unclear], provider, anyway. I don’t know, I don’t remember the name for it. Anyway, so, we would go to visit Chinatown and shop in Chinatown of course. It would take a good half hour to get up there, even taking the bus. I mean, taking the MUNI. And oh the MUNI was right, right in back of a house. On 3rd and 23rd. It was called Market Street Railway. And as kids, we would just play in the, in the, in the Market Street Railway. MUNI cars. We would play hide and seek there. That’s why when all the cousins come down, that’s what we would do. All these open spaces that we had. We had fun. Because the railroad, Market Street Railroad was in the area. So that was –
08:39 Yu: Great, good.
08:40 Fong: Great.
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